C.P.A. Senior Vice President and General Auditor • CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield • Owings Mills, MD.
Gwendolyn Skillern was drawn to accounting because she believed it would provide job security. After twenty-five years in the industry, however, she has found that the rewards have stretched beyond the comfort of a steady paycheck. She is senior vice president and general auditor at CareFirst BlueCross Blue-Shield, a nonprofit managed health care insurance company, where she directs activities related to internal audits, quality control and special investigations. Equally important in her eyes, she also is the current national president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Black Accountants, an accomplishment of which she is extremely proud.
“I’m very passionate about my profession and about advancing opportunities for Blacks in the profession. It’s important to continue to look out for others who are coming along. Our motto in NABA is: ‘Lifting as we climb.’”
A certified public accountant, Skillern oversees all of NABA’s member services and programs, including an extensive offering of conferences and other training opportunities for professionals and college students. A child of two school teachers in rural Nacogdoches, Texas, she was raised to believe that dedication, hard work and the pursuit of excellence would lead to success. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of California at Berkeley, a master’s in business administration from Stanford University and has numerous leadership certificates and awards.
Skillern began her accounting career as an audit manager at Deloitte L.L.P., which later became Deloitte & Touche, L.L.P. one of the world’s largest business services firms, and subsequently held public accounting, corporate finance and internal auditing positions, including at Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Bass Hotels & Resorts. With the students she counsels through NABA, she shares the importance of education, excellence, honesty, integrity and respect for others.
“Always strive for excellence in everything you do. Learn everything you can. Don’t accept mediocrity,” she tells them. “If you do those things, success will come.”